Bartender

Randy Layman, Ace Eat Serve

Not only does Layman make a mean drink (we love his classic American concoctions), but he is also downright friendly—an enviable mix of talents.

Courtney Wilson, Old Major

We're giving ourselves a pat on the back for long ago recognizing Courtney Wilson's drink-making skills (the bartender graced our cover in February 2012 when she was mixing cocktails at Williams & Graham). She immediately struck us as having that rare combination of booze know-how and charm and continues to impress us behind the bar at her new home: Old Major. Ask her to whip up one of her signature scotch mixed drinks.

Randy Layman, Steuben’s

The Steuben’s cocktail menu may look old school, but the list is actually an incubator for the very modern concoctions floating around in bar manager Randy Layman’s head. Working behind the dark-wood bar, Layman takes old ideas and makes them new. To wit: He’ll barrel-age a cocktail, much like you’d do with whiskey, to achieve a smoky taste. Layman has spent most of his career slinging drinks in the Uptown neighborhood (he was a server at the Avenue Grill until a manager stuck him behind the bar for a shift in 2004).

Mike Henderson, Root Down

Our readers have noticed it, too: Henderson’s drink-slinging cred is hard to ignore, from TAG to Lou’s Food Bar to his current gig managing the bar at Root Down. 1600 W. 33rd Ave., 303-933-4200, www.rootdown denver.com

Mike Henderson, Root Down

Maintaining a cool head at one of Denver’s hottest drinking spots is no easy task, which is why we look for Mike Henderson when we belly up to the bar—and our readers do too. This guy has some serious skills, and never fails to serve up perfectly mixed concoctions: Try his tangy blood orange Caipirinha.